Guatemala 5 Volcano Challenge
Hike and summit five of Guatemala's volcanoes - dubbed 'The Ring of Fire' - ending up at spectacular Lake Atitlan
Why it's much better
- Summit 5 volcanoes in the Guatemalan highlands
- 7 days of hiking through lava fields, cloud forests and Maya villages
- Stand on top of the highest point of Central America, Tajumulco volcano (4220m)
- See each of Guatemala's 3 active volcanoes, including the continuously erupting 'Volcan de Fuego'
- Camp at an altitude of 3000m+ on 2 of Guatemala's highest volcanoes
- Watch the sunrise from Acatenango volcano, with 360 degree views all the way to Mexico
- Explore the Spanish colonial towns of Antigua and Quetzaltenango
- Wind down at beautiful Lake Atitlan where you can swim, kayak or get some hammock time
- Guides Expert, English-speaking local guides
- Accommodation 7 nights in locally owned, independent hotels. 2 nights camping on volcanoes
- Meals 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 dinners
- Transfers All airport transfers
- Permits All permits and entry fees
- Equipment Camping equipment for the nights on Acatenango and Tajumulco volcanoes
- Happiness Guaranteed We're so confident that your holiday will be your best yet, we actually guarantee it
- Feel Good Vibes We mitigate 4x the carbon emitted by all our travellers and support important conservation projects
Day 1: Arrive at the airport in Guatemala City and transfer to Antigua
You'll be met at the La Aurora international airport in Guatemala City by your host and be transferred to Antigua, your base for the first of the volcano climbs. The transfer takes 1 hour.
After checking in to your hotel, depending on what time your flight landed, you may have some free time to wander Antigua's cobbled streets and browse the myriad street stalls.
Day 2: Hike Pacaya Volcano
In the morning you'll get straight to the job at hand: climbing volcanoes. You'll drive to the trailhead of Pacaya volcano, lace up your hiking boots and head for the summit.
The route to the top weaves through lava fields, formed by eruptions as recent as 2010. Geothermal hotspots can be found on the cooled lava formations; you can even roast marshmallows here to fuel your hike!
When you reach Pacaya's peak - your first of five volcano summits - you'll enjoy a picnic overlooking neighbouring volcanoes Agua, Fuego and Acatenango. The hike back down meanders through more lava fields, forests and farmland. You end up back to the trailhead ready for the drive back to Antigua.
Your evening is free to grab a beer and some classic Central American food from Antigua's many street stalls, bars, restaurants and cafes.
Hiking distance: 6km - Elevation ascent 400m / descent 400m - Duration: 3-4 hours
Highest point: 2288m
Day 3: Acatenango Volcano hike and overnight camp
You'll grab a big breakfast in Antigua before heading to the trailhead at La Soledad. Today's volcano hike is up the imposing Acatenango.
The hike starts off through farmland and small villages, before ascending into a cloud forest. This is an area of high biodiversity, home to the famous Quetzal bird. You'll soon be greeted with sweeping views of the highlands and neighbouring volcanoes: a good time for a scenic refuel as you picnic on the volcano slopes.
After hiking through temperate forest, you'll reach the private camp spot at 3750m above sea level, cut into the slopes just below the tree line. Enjoy a fresh camp dinner and a night around the campfire. You are likely to have views of Fuego volcano belching fumes into the sky, just 4km away. It is an active volcano, with its last major eruption in 2018.
Hiking distance: 8km - Elevation ascent 1100m / descent 0m - Duration: 5-6 hours
Highest point: 3750m
Day 4: Sunrise on Acatenango volcano and descend to Quetzaltenango
You'll rise early to complete the hour-long hike to the summit of Acatenango, along a sand and scree covered trail. Reaching the cold and windswept summit, you'll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the entire Guatemalan highlands, all the way to the border of Mexico.
You'll descend via a different route, moving through several different micro-climates as you lose altitude. Back at the trailhead, you'll jump in the van and head towards Guatemala's second largest city, Quetzaltenango - also known by its Mayan name, Xela. The drive is along the Pan-American highway, passing its highest point, known locally as 'Alaska'.
Check into your hotel in Xela and enjoy a free evening in this lively city.
Hiking distance: 7km - Elevation ascent 475m / descent 1575m - Duration: 2-3 hours
Highest point: 3976m
Day 5: Hike up Santa Maria volcano
Next up is your third volcano peak: Santa Maria. Again you'll have an early start - but as the well-known phrase goes: the early bird summits the volcano! There is a 45 minute drive to reach the village of Llanos del Pinal where your hike starts.
Santa Maria has a fairly steep ascent to the summit along a dirt trail. After 4 or 5 hours of hiking, you'll have earnt your summit views: a spectacular bird's eye view of Santa Maria's sister volcano, the active Santiaguito. From high up on Santa Maria, you'll be able to look down into the fiery crater of Santiaguito. If you're lucky you may get to witness an eruption.
Back at your hotel in Xela, you'll have a free evening to explore the city and chill after another incredible day of volcano hiking.
Hiking distance: 10km - Elevation ascent 1200m / descent 1200m - Duration: 6-7 hours
Highest point: 3770m
Day 6: Drive to Tuichan and hike Tajumulco volcano; Central America's highest point
Another early start for a 3 hour drive to Tuichan, close to the border with Mexico. Surely you weren't expecting a lie in by now! Tuichan is the base for your climb up Tajumulco, Guatemala's highest volcano and the highest point in all of Central America.
The hiking today is fairly easy going, but it's a long day with around 7 or 8 hours of hiking. There are beautiful forest trails and pine studded ridges on the way to your camp spot for the night. You'll put your head down to sleep at roughly 4000m above sea level - but not just yet.
From the camp, the volcano summit is a steep climb for 30 minutes more, topping out at 4219m. You're officially on the top of Central America! Another awesome night of wild volcano camping awaits on the short descent back to camp.
Hiking distance: 8km - Elevation ascent: 1100m / descent 0m - Duration: 5-6 hours
Highest point: 4219m
Day 7: Descend Tajumulco and drive to Lake Atitlan
Wake up on the volcano and make your descent down Tajumulco. You have a long drive to recover on, with a lunch stop en route, through the Guatemalan highlands to spectacular Lake Atitlan. You'll take a boat across the lake from Panajachel to your lakeside eco hotel in the small town of San Pedro.
The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy this special place. Head in to town or just lie in a hammock and bask in the views of water and fire - lake and volcanoes all around you.
Hiking distance: 5km - Elevation ascent 20m / descent 1120m - Duration: 2-3 hours
Highest point: 3970m
Day 8: Hike up San Pedro Volcano
You may have been relaxing, but this adventure isn't over yet! Today is your fifth and final volcano summit: San Pedro volcano. After breakfast beside the lake, you'll take a boat across to the trail head. Experience your final epic hike through cloud forest, with sweeping highland vistas and spectacular views back down towards Lake Atitlan.
At over 3000m, San Pedro volcano is no baby, but a fitting place to end your volcano hiking adventure.
Hiking distance: 9km - Elevation ascent 1200m / descent 1200m - Duration: 7-8 hours
Highest point: 3020m
Day 9: Day at Lake Atitlan
Congratulations, you've summited five volcanoes in a week! You've certainly earned a rest day, so the lake and eco hotel is yours to soak up as you wish.
There are kayaks available for use, or you can head to one of the best swimming spots at the lake. If you have some energy left, you can opt to head out ziplining or take a trip to nearby Mayan villages.
Late in the afternoon you'll head back to Antigua for a final evening celebrating your week of volcano summiting.
Day 10: Transfer to Guatemala City airport
Enjoy breakfast at Antigua and any spare time you may have before your host takes you back to the airport in Guatemala City for your departure flight.
All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.
You'll stay in locally owned, independent 3 star hotels in Antigua and Quetzaltenango; a lakeside eco-hotel in Lake Atitlan and wild camp at altitude on two volcanos: Acatenango and Tajumulco.
In Antigua your base will be at Hotel San Jorge, located on a quiet corner just a couple of blocks away from Parque Central. Hotel San Jorge is described as being like a country hacienda, with Spanish colonial architecture and a lush central garden and courtyard.
In Quetzaltenango you'll stay in Hotel Modelo: a charming, historic hotel run by four generations of the same family.
At Lake Atitlan you'll stay at Sak'cari in San Pedro la Laguna. This is an eco-hotel right on the waterfront, run on renewable energy and with an amazing pool with views of the lake and volcanoes. This is a perfect spot to wind down after all the volcano action.
You'll also camp on volcanoes Acatenango and Tajumulco. All of your camping gear is provided; tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag. Be advised that night time on the volcanoes can be quite cold, so do bring warm layers with you. There will be campfires to keep you toasty at dinner time, while stargazing and watching Fuego volcano do its thing.
Rooms are all twin share basis unless you request a private room upgrade.
Private Room Upgrade
For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for £385 per person (subject to availability).
Antigua is a charming Spanish colonial city and one of Guatemala's tourist gems. Volcanic peaks loom over its classic colonial architecture, while the streets are lined with food and drink stalls, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Quetzaltenango, also known by its Maya name Xela, is Guatemala's second largest city and the centre of the Quiche Mayan people. The city is set against a backdrop of volcanoes, including towering Santa María which you'll be standing on top of on day 5.
Lake Atitlan is another of Guatemala's gems, a large body of water sitting in a volcanic crater. The lake is lined by Mayan villages.
Your trip starts at La Aurora international airport in Guatemala City. transfers are included if you arrive on the start day, so please let your host know your flight times.
Your trip ends back at La Aurora international airport in Guatemala City, where your host will drop you off in time for your departing flight. Transfers are included if you depart on the final day, so please let your host know your flight times.
Dates & Prices
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There are currently no planned group departures. Please contact this host to request a quote for a custom trip.Request a Quote
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